Electronic Arts may be spearheading the digital revolution, but discs aren't dead yet, says COO Peter Moore.
In an interview with MCV at Gamescom, the influential figure in fact predicted that packaged goods will be reborn when the much-discussed new generation of consoles arrives, even if the digital tipping point is crossed by then.
He told MCV: “The tipping point will come, but it’s not that packaged is going away, it’s that digital is going up.”
EA has proactively pushed into digital, making $1bn from mobile/social in its last financial year, with plans to make that closer to $2bn in the next.
“But let’s not misunderstand this,” Moore told MCV. “Our forecast this year is to also do $2.6bn in packaged goods. So there will be a £40 console game, but there will be an iPhone experience and a PC experience too. There is always a big opportunity for a Battlefield or a FIFA.”
Gamescom showcased a flood of free-to-play games - including EA's own, like Command & Conquer and The Simpsons: Tapped out - but The New Wave isn’t necessarily going to wash away the old one.
Moore added: "If you had asked me two years ago, I would not have known where free to play is going, and I wouldn't known how powerful mobile devices would become. But we simply react to what consumers want and where they want to be - and we are everywhere.
"If consumers say in emerging markets that their broadband isn't fast enough for a 20 gigabyte game, then fine - we'll have it on disc for them."
And the rise of digital and free-to-play doesn't mean other games will stop asking for £40/$60 up front costs.
Moore said big budget games demand an ‘entry’ fee: “If you have ‘Battlefield 6’, with detailed maps as far as the eye can see and hundreds of soldiers – that doesn’t cost a few bucks to make.
“It’s like in movies. There are indie movies that cost a million dollars to make, and then there’s The Avengers. You can sit down and watch a documentary at home or go to the movies, and there’s everything in between. Games are no different.”
This is EA’s advantage over firms only focused on low-end social, he added: “The problem those guys have is that you still need to keep customers happy or they move on. I don’t care how good your games are, people will get tired if that’s all you offer.”
And that's why, while all the excitement is around digital, packaged goods still has a future in some form.
“And don’t forget that with a new generation of consoles coming up, packaged goods will get a rebirth.”